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US Economy Adds 431,000 New Jobs in March, Falling Short of Market Estimates

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The U.S. added 431,000 new jobs in March, falling short of the market estimate of 490,000, according to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

This is down from the 750,000 positions created in February.

The unemployment rate fell to 3.6 percent, better than economists’ expectations of 3.7 percent.

The average hourly wage for all employees rose by 13 cents to $31.73 in March. Over the past 12 months, average hourly wages have climbed by 5.6 percent.

Average weekly hours dipped to 34.6, and the labor force participation rate edged up to 62.4 percent.

gains were broad-based, led by leisure and hospitality (+112,000), professional and business services (+102,000), retail trade (+49,000), and manufacturing (+38,000).

BLS also revised employment gains up by 23,000 to 504,000 in January and by 72,000 to 750,000 in February.

The latest U.S. government numbers come after the Automatic Data Processing (ADP) reported that private businesses added 455,000 workers in March, topping the market estimate of 450,000.

“Businesses are hiring, specifically among the service providers which had the most ground to make up due to early pandemic losses. However, a tight labor supply remains an obstacle for continued growth in consumer-facing industries,” said Nela Richardson, chief economist at ADP, in a news release.

Job openings continue to be near a record high, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA).

In February, the number of job openings totaled 11.266 million, higher than market expectations of 11 million. The quit rate also rose to 2.9 percent, meaning that 4.4 million Americans resigned from their positions in February.

Meanwhile, U.S.-based companies announced intentions to eliminate more than 21,000 positions from their payrolls last month, the largest number in five months, according to Challenger, Gray, and Christmas data.

Looking ahead, a survey of economists suggests that the U.S. economy could add an average of 281,000 new jobs each month between now and March 2023. The previous 12-month rate was 556,000.

Although the labor market is forecast to remain robust, job creation could diminish its momentum, according to Bankrate’s First-Quarter Economic Indicator poll.

“During this time of elevated

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